Published: Fri, February 01, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Measles Outbreak in Washington and Oregon Cause a State of Emergency

Measles Outbreak in Washington and Oregon Cause a State of Emergency

The other four cases' immunization statuses are unverified. All school-age children, university students and those traveling out of the country and born on or after January 1, 1970 should have received two doses of measles-containing vaccine, as should health-care workers born on or after January 1, 1957. One adult is infected, and the rest are teenagers. OR officials didn't provide the age of the adult infected there. The governor of Washington declared a state of emergency over a measles outbreak Friday. Authorities in neighboring OR and Idaho have issued warnings.

On Jan. 18, Clark County declared its own local public health emergency after the outbreak.

But measles is still a big problem in other parts of the world, wrote the Los Angeles Times. When one gets infected, the symptoms take about seven to 14 days before they emerge.

Medical experts call it an outbreak boosted by lower-than-normal vaccination rates in an anti-vaccination U.S.

Officials still are not sure where the Pacific Northwest outbreak began. The first known patient sought medical care on December 31, but it is unknown if other people may have gotten sick before that and did not seek treatment.

The CDC says that typically individuals get measles overseas in areas where immunization rates are low, and then spread the illness in pockets of unvaccinated people. Of those, 400 to 500 people died and 48,000 were hospitalized, according to the CDC.

"We usually have five cases or less a year", he said. "It can have really serious complications. and it's entirely preventable with an incredibly cheap and safe vaccine", Melnick said.

Clark County Public Health in Vancouver, Washington, has reported 30 confirmed cases of measles since the beginning of the year. State figures reveal that 7.9 percent had been exempted from the mandate that children entering kindergarten should have been vaccinated for the disease before being accepted.

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The outbreak is in an anti-vaccination hotspot near Portland, Ore., according to CBS News.

Both Washington and OR allow vaccine exemptions for personal and philosophical reasons.

William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist and a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, estimates that the measles immunization is about 98 percent effective in protecting people from the illness. It can remain in the air for up to two hours in an isolated space.

Anyone who has never been vaccinated is at risk of getting measles if they come into contact with someone who is contagious.

Although some people can not get vaccinations due to immune system issues or allergies, others do not get their children shots due to religious or philosophical beliefs.

Earlier this week, authorities were successful in identifying several people who had been exposed but were not sick yet.

Those who may have been exposed should watch for early symptoms of fever and malaise and then a rash starting on the head and moving down the body. The virus can lead to pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

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